Wrestling Power Rankings: The Top 25 Wrestlers in World This Week

Jonathan Snowden@JESnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterAugust 10, 2020

Wrestling Power Rankings: The Top 25 Wrestlers in World This Week

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    Photo courtesy of WWE.com

    Our weekly professional wrestling power rankings will once again be a Monday morning staple as we prepare for WWE Raw by taking a look at the most impressive wrestlers from the previous week.

    In other sports, these rankings are fairly static. You can take it as a given that the elite teams and players will always be found near the top, with the cream of the crop shifting only slightly relative to where they stood the previous week. 

    Professional wrestling, of course, is a little different. We aren't beholden to traditional metrics like wins and losses, and the top performers of the week may have suffered embarrassing defeats in important contests.

    Seth Rollins, for example, is one of the most gifted performers in the world. You won't find him on this list, however, because his ocular-based program with Rey Mysterio is cringe-inducingly bad. This is a list that asks "what have you done for me lately?"

    What we're looking for here is momentum, fan enthusiasm and performance. Who moved the needle during the previous week? What are wrestling fans dying to see more of? And, just as importantly, which acts and angles are they hoping just disappear into the ether like they never existed at all?

    That means there's going to be a lot of movement in the weeks to come, so Rollins and his fans need not fret. There's a good chance his current hiatus from this list is only temporary—when he gets red hot again, his power ranking will reflect it.

    Nothing is written in stone.

    You got it? I think you've got it. Let's get started!

Tepid: Nos. 25-21

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    Photo courtesy of WWE.com

    25. Eric Young

    Promotion: Impact Wrestling

    Analysis: Young never seemed to catch fire in WWE, but after just a couple of weeks back in Impact, he's right back at the top of his game. His feud with Rich Swann looks to have enough heat to simmer for some time, and his slightly deranged character work is perfect for a promotion that isn't afraid to get a little edgier than WWE.

          

    24. Miz/Morrison

    Promotion: WWE SmackDown

    Analysis: I may be the only one on the planet in platonic love with Miz and Morrison. I confess—I enjoyed their skit with Mandy's hair. Yes, I realize that means I must immediately burn my official "smart mark" membership card.

    I accept the consequences of my actions.

          

    23. Young Bucks

    Promotion: All Elite Wrestling

    Analysis: The two were part of a scintillating 12-man tag team match on Dynamite, a wild affair featuring the kind of madcap action at which they excel. But, other than the exciting spotfest here and there, the team doesn't appear to be building to anything special. 

    It was widely assumed that FTR would come into the promotion and immediately seek revenge for the skits mocking them on Being the Elite all those years ago. Instead, they've gone in another direction. Once again, it looks like the Jackson brothers will have to settle for being supporting players.

           

    22. Karion Kross

    Promotion: WWE NXT

    Analysis: The big man has an incredible look and an even better entrance. It's a combination that can take you far—ask Bobby Roode. 

    But, eventually, you have to show you can deliver in the big, story-telling heavy matches that have come to define the NXT style. Kross will get his first chance soon against the popular champion Keith Lee. Everyone in the company will be watching carefully—of all the talent on the Wednesday night brand, he has the most tools to succeed on the larger WWE stage.

         

    21. Hurt Business

    Promotion: WWE Raw

    Analysis: MVP has signed a long-term contract and is ready to go to work—and the Hurt Business seems like the perfect vehicle. And his timing couldn't be better. He can carry the load on the microphone, while former amateur wrestling standouts Shelton Benjamin and Bobby Lashley take advantage of the new "Raw Underground" setup that seems perfectly geared for their particular talents.

Simmering: Nos. 20-16

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    Photo courtesy of AEW

    20. The Dark Order

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: For months, the Dark Order was AEW's one notable miss, the only act they'd invested time and energy into that seemed to fizzle. After debuting to confused silence at Double or Nothing last year, the group never seemed to really get traction. Even the revelation of Brodie Lee (WWE's Luke Harper) was met with polite indifference as most of the audience appeared confused by the inside jokes targeting WWE boss Vince McMahon.

    Its reinvention as a comedy act, however, seems to have done the trick. They've been a delightful edition to Being the Elite, shoulder programming for AEW that seems to drive the television programming. That's good news for fans who enjoy gentle, cult-based humor served with their hard-hitting wrestling.

         

    19. Keith Lee

    Promotion: WWE NXT

    Analysis: Lee is the new NXT champion, and it's a well-deserved promotion for one of the sport's most agile big men. But I'm a little worried about his booking and what it might mean for Lee's long-term future. 

    NXT is the creative brainchild of Shawn Michaels and Triple H. The long-running feud between Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano was the heartbeat of the promotion for years. 

    Unfortunately, Lee's feud with Karrion Kross doesn't have that kind of emotional energy. Worse, it's buried beneath an inexplicable program between former champion Adam Cole and a former NFL punter. None of that seemingly speaks well for WWE's confidence in Lee as a drawing card.

        

    18. Matt Cardona

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: The former Zach Ryder has arrived in AEW as Cody's new tag partner and best pal. No way that could go wrong for Mr. Rhodes!

    So far, Cardona has proved passable in the ring. Years ago, WWE fans recognized his promise—now he'll finally have an opportunity to realize it.

    It's one thing to talk about all the things you would do if only given the opportunity. Well, opportunity has most definitely knocked. Let's see what Cardona does with it.

         

    17. Dakota Kai

    Promotion: WWE NXT

    Analysis: Kai earned her place on this list the old-fashioned way—inside the wrestling ring. Her match with Rhea Ripley not only scored the New Zealander a title shot, but it also ended up being the best in-ring action of the week.

    Her bout with Io Shirai should help further establish Kai's reputation as someone who delivers when the lights are brightest. Kai has real long-term potential, particularly if WWE is serious about building the women's division into something robust enough to host more than one feud at a time. 

         

    16. Joey Janela

    Promotion: Game Changer Wrestling/AEW

    Analysis: Janela's placement on this list may seem strange if you only watch his work in AEW. But he's also one of the masterminds behind Game Changer Wrestling, an independent promotion that has recently returned to action with a handful of stellar shows available on pay-per-view from Fite TV. 

    Janela's recent match with former WWE cruiserweight star Lio Rush, in particular, is worth going out of your way to see. The Bad Boy remains one of the best wrestlers in the world in an independent setting. Fans, however, are still waiting for AEW to successfully catch his particular brand of lightning in their bottle.

Scorching: Nos. 15-11

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    Photo courtesy of AEW

    15. Otis

    Promotion: WWE SmackDown

    Analysis: The "Money in the Bank" winner remains a compelling act. Unfortunately, he's a character designed for an easy crowd pop in the era of COVID-19. The audience interaction that made WWE officials sit up and take notice doesn't really exist right now, allowing the next performer listed to swoop in and make the angle with Otis' main squeeze Mandy Rose her own.

           

    14. Sonya Deville

    Promotion: WWE SmackDown

    Analysis: Even fans who hated the "Mandy's hair" bit had to grudgingly admit that Sonya held up her end of the train wreck and then some. Her energy, mic work and real-life aura that all but screams "danger" has made her one of the standout performers of the COVID era. 

    That said—is it weird I'm just waiting for this feud with Mandy to play out so we get a chance to see what Sonya can do against someone better able to match her physicality in the ring?

          

    13. Jon Moxley

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: Moxley isn't doing anything wrong as AEW champion. His promos are always convincing and fierce, and his ring work improves weekly as he washes the WWE programming away. 

    But Moxley never really feels like he's a part of the broader AEW promotion. It's like he's broadcast on a different wavelength. Everything he does appears to exist in his own universe, one that doesn't have much crossover with the Earth One AEW that contains the Elite and other stars. 

          

    12. Shane McMahon

    Promotion: WWE Raw

    Analysis: At the end of the night Monday, everyone was talking about Shane and WWE's experimental new "Raw Underground." While I saw huge potential in the new segment, others saw it as a B-movie ripoff that did little other than leave them dizzy with its shaky camera work.

    That level of polarization, however, means people were talking. They were also watching—the idea was a ratings hit and that means we'll see the boss' son get another shot at his new approach to professional wrestling.

         

    11. Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: The AEW tag team champions are on shaky ground, their title belts the only ties that bind the two together. The promotion has been slow-playing their eventual breakup for months. We've been holding our breath and rooting for these two to hold it together for so long that, if a split happens, it will feel nice to be able to breathe again.

    Then we'll all have to choose sides. The great battle that follows will pit friend versus friend and husband versus wife and split many relationships asunder. It isn't going to be pretty.

Scalding: Nos. 10-6

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    Photo courtesy of WWE.com

    10. The Good Brothers

    Promotion: Impact Wrestling

    Analysis: The former Bullet Club standouts are out of WWE purgatory and thriving. Not only have they brought a ton of attention to Impact, their self-funded independent pay-per-view "Talk 'n Shop a Mania" was the talk of the wrestling world.

    Raunchy and irreverent, it was nothing they could have possibly done at WWE. With Impact, however, anything seems possible—even a potential return to Japan where they first found fame.

         

    9. Big E

    Promotion: WWE SmackDown

    Analysis: At 34, the time is now for Big E to establish himself as a prime-time player at the top of the promotion. 

    Despite his comedic roots, the potential is there for serious success. He's an established, beloved presence with the audience. No one has to be convinced to get behind Big E. They're already there—the WWE Universe has been waiting for ages to see the big man unleashed.

    This is a future world champion if anyone at WWE is paying the slightest bit of attention.

          

    8. MJF

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: There's something off about MJF's recent "campaign" to become the face of AEW. It's a premise that would work well if his foil was a political animal like Cody, someone with the power to create a promotion in his own image. 

    But Moxley seems almost apolitical and earned his title in the ring, making the entire thing seem hollow and ill thought out.

    MJF, however, is delivering such a bravura performance that he's transcended all the structural issues with the material. Watching him work his smarmy magic is pure pleasure.

          

    7. Chris Jericho

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: Despite losing the AEW championship, Jericho remains the centerpiece of the entire promotion. He's a gift from the wrestling gods, one of the most adaptable, multi-faceted performers in professional wrestling history. With his 50th birthday approaching, he still has the energy and ability to steal every show he's on. 

    There's only one "Le Champion." Here's hoping he returns from Sturgis virus free and ready rumble.

           

    6. Bayley

    Promotion: WWE

    Analysis: Bayley "Dos Straps" has really come into her own as a heel, embracing her inherent goofiness and injecting some much-needed fun into both WWE shows. Already one of the better in-ring performers in the women's division, her personality transplant has made her one of the most compelling athletes in all of WWE.

5. FTR

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    Photo courtesy of AEW

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: I was skeptical that FTR would be a big success in AEW. Say what you will about Vince McMahon, but it's rare to see him completely miss the mark with an act. He may not use them the way they wanted and they may not reach their full potential in WWE—but if there is a spark there, his team will usually find it. 

    FTR felt like one of those acts whose potential the internet hardcores had built up to a level they could never actually reach in real life.

    But their AEW tenure has featured hit after hit. Not only have they delivered in the ring as promised, they've quickly taken center stage in the tag team division's most compelling drama—the saga of Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page.

    When you're wrong, you're wrong. And I was dead wrong about FTR. They've quickly become one of the most consistent, provocative acts in all of professional wrestling.

4. Drew McIntyre

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    Promotion: WWE Raw

    Analysis: McIntyre has had one of the oddest WWE title reigns of all-time. It feels like he's doing really well in his new role—he's capable and confident, both in the ring and on the stick. But he's yet to perform in front of a single real fan as champion, making it feel like the fandom hasn't truly had the chance to express their feelings about the new kingpin one way or another.

    McIntyre, however, continues forward unfazed. This week, he and Randy Orton went back-and-forth on Raw with dueling, passionate promos, folding reality into storyline to the point no one can really tell what's real and what isn't. Many of wrestling's best stories are built on the fertile ground of real-life animosity—and the fans seem willing to follow these two men wherever they lead.

3. Orange Cassidy

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    Photo courtesy of AEW

    Promotion: AEW

    Analysis: It's been amazing to see Orange Cassidy emerge from this awful, no-good, very bad year as the breakout star in the world of professional wrestling.

    There's never been an act like Cassidy's, making his career trajectory almost impossible to predict. Will he be a flash-in-the-pan, destined to wear on the audience like an ill-fitting pair of shoes? Or is his slacker persona so relatable that he'll hold the fans gently in the palm of his hand for years to come?

    Anyone who claims to know is lying their face off. This is unchartered territory. I, for one, can't wait to travel it next to our lethargic new wrestling god.

2. Sasha Banks

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    Promotion: WWE

    Analysis: While some hardcores focus on what they feel was a disappointing title run from Asuka, Sasha Banks continues to quietly have the best run of her entire career.

    There is only one Sasha Banks. Her ring work is beyond compare and, as a heel, she has the emotional range to tell great stories in the squared circle and on the mic. 

    It seems clear that WWE is building to a split between Banks and Bayley—and that's almost a shame. Both have become such great heels that it's hard to imagine cheering for others. I'd rather see them side by side, sneering at the fans, for years to come.

1. Randy Orton

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    Promotion: WWE Raw

    Analysis: Randy Orton has seemingly been sleepwalking through his career for years, a future Hall-of-Famer gliding by on his gilded reputation and third-generation pedigree.

    His potential has always been obvious—he's good looking, tall, a master of mechanics and just generally everything you'd want from a pro wrestler. It's actually all that talent that has made him especially frustrating to watch for some fans. It's hard knowing just how much someone is capable of and how little they are giving by comparison. 

    But, in 2020, something clicked for Orton. He's taken the top spot in the sport by force, combining the best promo work in all of wrestling with a renewed energy in the ring. First against Edge and now with Drew McIntyre, he's brought the best out of his opponents and re-emerged from the middle of the card as the standard-bearer we all knew he could be.